Mina’s Basket Case Episode 1 – Japanese Knotweed

After many years of filming little bits and bobs with the intention of making a video for you…I’ve finally done it. I have a YouTube Channel! It’s called “Msitu: Forage & Feast!” and I will be uploading lots of amazing content there for you to enjoy. After a a hilarious conversation with my husband Peter while filming this in the park, we decided that my podcasts had to have a name, and the name that seems the most apt is Mina’s Basket Case.

Japanese Knotweed is a horribly invasive weed, but the good news is that you can eat it. Also known as ‘Donkey Rhubarb’, it tastes and smells freakishly like Rhubarb!In the first of Mina’s Basket Case videos, I will be showing you how to safely harvest and prepare Japanese Knotweed. After picking it, I take it back to my kitchen and use it to make a delicious Vegan Japanese Knotweed Cake.


The recipe for the cake:

Mina’s Vegan (& Gluten Free) Japanese Knotweed Cake

1 cup Japanese Knotweed Puree (I started with 650g of knotweed and 500ml of water)
115g Softened Butter (or Dairy Free Margarine)
200g Caster Sugar
250g Plain flour (or 250g Dove’s Gluten Free Flour Blend with 1/4tsp Xanthan Gum)
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
70g Raisins
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stir in the puree and beat well. Stir in the bicarb, spices, flour (and xanthan gum if your cake is gluten free) and fold in. If you’re making this with regular flour, do not beat the mixture the way I do in the video. This will activate the gluten in your cake and make it hard and dense. I beat it using the machine because I need to activate the xanthan gum so it will hold my cake together nicely.

Fold in your raisins and spoon your batter into a greased and lined 8 inch cake tin. Smooth the top then put in to a preheated oven at 180C with no fan (turn this down to about 165C if you’re using the fan) and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes in its tin before removing it to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Ice with a buttercream icing made with the zest of 1 lemon and the poaching liquid from the Japanese Knotweed. Decorate with edible blossom and enjoy!

Muhaimina Said-Allsopp